Inclusion A Common Theme of Dialogues on SDGs

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Dr. Tokpa Nah Tipoteh, a renowned Liberian politician, has called on Liberians to participate in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country.

Dr. Tipoteh made the call yesterday during a program marking the government of Liberia (GOL) and the United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) dialogue on the SDGs, held in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

The dialogue is held under the theme, “Enhancing the Capacities and National Statistical Foundation for the Evidence Based Policies toward the Domestication and Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals.”

Members of various civil society organizations (CSO) attending the weeklong dialogue have expressed the need for government and international partners to ensure that all sectors are included in the implementation of the SDGs.

Bassa Women for Development Association (BAWODA) president, Martha Karnga, said it was important for women’s organizations to form part of the SDG process.

“If the SDGs are to be achieved, let them address issues concerning women’s organizations, issues such as good farm to market roads, roads from villages to towns so that the women will be able to give birth without having to walk for hours to seek treatment or send their children to school,” she said.

Madam Karnga said the SDGs can only be achieved when women are allowed to play active roles and are educated on the importance of keeping their children in school.

She called on the government and her development partners to provide the medium through which women can have access to compulsory education, and discuss translating the SDGs into local dialects.

As for the Liberia Business Association (LIBA), the lack of market structures and storage for local produce causes wastage and hinders the proper use of outputs.

Mr. David Sembah informed participants that economic growth is the main driver of poverty alleviation “because an increase in productivity and output leads to the creation of jobs, higher incomes and net income opportunities.”

In order for Liberia to meet the SDGs requires innovation and the use of technology, which is an important quality for local businesses that want to be competitive, according to Sembah.

Sembah believes innovation needs attention as Liberia moves into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Common Tariff (CET), adding that a business can act as a conveyor belt for innovative solutions.

He said business and market approaches are not total solutions for tracking poverty, but can significantly contribute to addressing the need for poverty reduction.
Jallah Grayfield, vice president of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), who presented a paper on the role of the media in the implementation of the SDGs, expressed the need for the dialogue to target poverty alleviation.

UNFPA representative Mohammed Sesay said in the 2000s, the world made a pledge to foster development in terms of reducing poverty. Mr. Sesay indicated that it was about time the world wins the war against poverty, adding that renewed opportunity to target development must be met.

“The development of democracy, ensuring accountability and transparency are important steps in achieving the SDGs,” Mr. Sesay said.

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